We use a number of smartphone apps when we explore backcountry terrain year-round, and one of our favorites is Bivy. So we were stoked when we heard that the company behind the app is launching the BivyStick, a 2-way satellite communication device that allows for GPS tracking, SMS messaging, point-weather forecasts, and the ability to notify search and rescue in the event of an emergency, all through your smartphone.
“I created [The Bivy app] to get people into the outdoors.” says Bivy founder Vance Cook in a press release. “But, I wanted to expand on the idea and give adventurers of all skills and backgrounds a convenient and easy way stay in touch when they were out of cell service range. Ease of use was tantamount to our process and it was a natural evolution for us to design around the app and use an interface that we’re all familiar with, the smartphone. Getting into the outdoors is good for the mind and soul. We just want to help people do it safely and enjoyably.”
The device is about as big as a king-size candy bar and connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth or an included cable. From there, the BivyStick uses the Iridium Satellite Constellation and users can send text messages, SOS alerts, request weather updates, and get detailed location information delivered straight to their own phone. The BivyStick also functions as an external battery with a USB charger, so it’s easy to power up your phone and then check in with those who need to know where you are.
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While there are a number of other similar devices on the market (including the recently launched Somewear), what makes the BivyStick unique is its pay-as-you-go credit plan. Using a credit system, you can purchase as many credits as you need for your next adventure and not get hassled by re-activation fees or subscription plans that creep up as time goes on. Each credit equals one data package (a single text message, weather report, or location info), and will cost a little less than a dollar per credit, although we’re still waiting for more info about data pricing.
The product is expected to land at your local outdoor retailer this September and cost $299 for the device only. You can get the BivyStick at a steep discount and plenty of credits when you pre-order from the brand’s Kickstarter campaign, scheduled to run through July 30, 2018.